6 cases of legionella confirmed in St. Columbkille Parish community in Parma

PARMA, Ohio -- The Cuyahoga County Board of Health tells FOX 8 News it is looking into six confirmed cases of legionella in a Northeast Ohio church community.

According to Cuyahoga County Board of Health Communications Specialist Kevin Brennan, the cases are among the community at St. Columbkille Parish in Parma.

The board of health says  environmental testing will be conducted on the premises of the church and results may take up to 10 days to be returned.

Out of an abundance of caution, the church was asked to turn off its air conditioning.

Parishioners were made aware of this during church services this weekend. The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland released the following statement:

The Cuyahoga County Board of Health has notified St. Columbkille Church in Parma of six potential cases of Legionnaires Disease reported by people in the surrounding community who are also parishioners of St. Columbkille Parish.  Inspectors from the Board of Health have visited the church multiple times over the last few days and have found no potential cause for the illnesses.  However, out of an abundance of caution, church air conditioning units will not be in use this weekend following the recommendation of the Board of Health and pending the results of further testing.  St. Columbkille is committed to ensuring the safety of its parishioners and all who may visit.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, legionella can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a type of pneumonia; or a milder illness called Pontiac fever.  The CDC says most people exposed to legionella do not get sick; however, people 50 years or older, current or former smokers, and people with a weakened immune system or chronic disease are at an increased risk.

Read more from the CDC.